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Save on Your Heating Bill with Energy Assistance

February 9, 2017
Woman changing the heat on her radiator

We’re not through winter yet. Regulating the temperature of your home can be vital to your health and safety. But for many Georgians, the cost of heat cuts too deep into their monthly funds and many may face illness or eviction. Thankfully, the Georgia Department of Human Services’ Division of Family and Children Services can help.

If you are part of a low-income family, you may be eligible for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). If you qualify for the program, LIHEAP will cover part of your heating and cooling costs.

Am I Eligible?

You are eligible to receive LIHEAP if:

  • Your household income is at or below 60% of Georgia’s median income level;
  • You are the person responsible for paying your home’s heating bill;
  • You are a U.S. citizen or legally admitted alien; and
  • You are not a tenant of subsidized housing whose heating bill is included in your rental payment.

The income requirements change each year. Here are the required income levels for 2016-2017:

Household Size Maximum Total Gross Annual Household Income
1 $21,881
2 $28,614
3 $35,436
4 $42,079
5 $48,812
6 $55,544
7 $56,807
8 $58,069

For each additional person over 8 in the household, add another $1,262.

How Much Will I Get?

On average, LIHEAP will provide $310-350 to families in need, as determined by your household’s projected gross annual income, the number of people in your home and the payment schedule or increased cost of home heating energy. Funds are provided on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Typically, the agency providing financial assistance will issue a check directly to the utility company on your behalf.

How to Apply

Applications from the general public opened up on Dec. 1 and will remain open through either the end of April or until all funds are exhausted. (People who are homebound or elderly can usually start applying on Nov. 1 each year.)

If you think you qualify for LIHEAP, you need to apply through your local Community Action Agency.

Local Community Action Agency Websites

Other Types of Assistance

Crisis Assistance

If your household is facing a crisis — in which you’ve received a disconnection notice, or your utilities have already been disconnected — you may be eligible for special assistance. You will receive assistance within:

  • 48 hours after you apply, or
  • 18 hours if you’re facing a life-threatening situation.

The eligibility guidelines and application period for crisis assistance are the same as for regular LIHEAP.

Weatherization

By properly weatherizing your home, you can save over $300 in energy costs per year! If you need help with the upfront costs of preparing your home for efficient energy use, you may be eligible for the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority’s Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP).

Program services include installing:

  • Ceiling insulation,
  • Windows,
  • Caulking, and
  • Weather-stripping.

Weatherization costs will not exceed $4,000. Eligibility requires that your household’s total income is at or below 200% of poverty level. Priority assistance is granted to the elderly and people who are disabled.

Apply at your local weatherization agency.

Apply Now for LIHEAP!

If you’re looking for home energy assistance, talk to your local agency as soon as possible. Applications for the program have been open for a few months now and some agencies have already started a wait list due to the overwhelming demand. Agencies will receive additional funding this month, so even if they can't assist you right away, make sure to join their wait list (if available) or keep an eye out for them to begin accepting new applications.

Learn more about Georgia’s Energy Assistance Program through the Division of Family and Children Services and Benefits.gov.

About the Author

Rachel Hart is the User Interface designer for GeorgiaGov. She visually organizes information and writes blogs on a variety of government-related topics.

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